Georgia Seatbelt Law and Its Impact on Car Accident Claims

talk to a Lawrenceville car accident lawyer if you were not wearing a seatbelt

Decades of research constantly show one thing: wearing a seatbelt helps prevent severe injuries in case of collision with another vehicle or a stationary object. This led to having the obligation to wear a seatbelt written into law in all U.S. states, including Georgia. So, what happens if you were not wearing a seatbelt and were injured in a crash? Can you still file a car accident claim? The best decision is to consult with a Lawrenceville car accident lawyer.

In this article, we will give an overview of the main stipulations of the seatbelt law in Georgia and how failure to comply with it may affect your legal rights to seek compensation.

What Are the Seatbelt Regulations in Georgia?

According to Georgia Code 40-8-76.1(b), the driver and front seat passenger in a vehicle must wear seatbelts. There are some exceptions to this general obligation, such as:

  • Drivers who make frequent deliveries and do not drive faster than 15 mph between stops
  • People with medical conditions who cannot be restrained by a seatbelt, provided that they carry an official certification confirming the exemption
  • Drivers and passengers in vehicles which are not required to be equipped with seatbelts
  • Drivers and passengers in retro cars manufactured prior to 1965

A Legal Twist: The Other Driver Cannot Invoke the Seatbelt Defense

Here is where Georgia law has an interesting approach to car accident claims: The same statute that specifies the obligation to wear a seatbelt also clearly states that “failure of an occupant of a motor vehicle to wear a seat safety belt…shall not be considered evidence of negligence or causation” in a car accident claim.

The legislators’ view on the matter agrees with that of a car accident attorney. The driver, with or without a seatbelt, would not have suffered any injuries and damages if the other vehicle had not crashed into their car.

Also, it is important to note the general language of the text of law. It speaks of “occupants” in a motor vehicle, which includes both the driver and the passengers.

What to Do after an Accident When You Were Not Wearing a Seatbelt

The fact that the law is on your side does not mean that getting compensation in a car accident claim is easy. Many insurance adjusters rely on the fact that you do not know all the stipulations of the Georgia seatbelt law and will tell you that you do not have the right to file a claim.

You should consult with an experienced Lawrenceville car accident lawyer and make sure that you follow these important steps:

not wearing a seatbelt can result in more severe injuries in a crash

1. Do Not Lie to the Police

After you report the accident to the police and the officers arrive at the crash scene, they will routinely ask both drivers if they were wearing the seatbelt. Do not lie and say that you were wearing it.

There could be evidence, such as traffic camera footage showing that you were not wearing it. At this point, the insurance adjuster already has a powerful weapon against you: they’ve caught you telling a lie. From this instance, they will continue to argue that all your statements about the crash are untrue.

2. Do Not Delay Seeking Medical Attention

You want to have the strongest possible claim for damages, and one key element is causation. You have to prove that the car accident caused your injuries, not a different, unrelated accident. The only way of removing any shadow of doubt is by going to the nearest hospital immediately after the crash.

The medical report issued by the doctor who examined you will tally with the accident report prepared by the police officer in terms of timestamps. The adjuster cannot come up with any scenario in which you suffered another accident in such a short period of time.

3. Do Not Talk to the Insurance Adjuster on Your Own

Once they are aware that you were not wearing the seatbelt, the insurance adjuster will start asking questions meant to make you admit fault. They are masters at twisting words, especially before an injured person who is in pain and worried about their chances of recovery.

Here is the thing: you are not obliged to talk to the adjuster immediately after the crash. You can send them away, claiming that you are feeling ill, and tell them that your attorney will contact them in a short time.

4. Consult with an Experienced Lawrenceville Car Accident Lawyer!

Most importantly of all steps, do not forget to reach out to The Weinstein Firm and bring all available evidence at the appointment with us. An experienced Lawrenceville car accident lawyer will review it and explain your legal rights in simple terms.

If you have a valid car accident claim, we will represent you on a contingency fee basis. Also, as a new client, you benefit from a free case evaluation, so call us at 770-HELP-NOW!

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